Section 31 is a positive for the Federation (spoilers from TV & books)

Discussion in 'Deep Space Nine' started by randomfan86, Apr 6, 2013.

  1. randomfan86

    randomfan86 Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2013
    ***Spoilers from Shows and Books

    I think Section 31 often gets too much crap from fans, even though the overwhelming evidence in both from TV and the books show they have done a lot of good work for the Federation.

    First I want to address the question of legitimacy. Section 31 while originating in the United Earth Charter was also incorporated into the Federation Charter. From memory-beta: "The Federation Starfleet Charter later incorporated a similar article which, more specifically, established an independent branch of Starfleet Intelligence that held non-specific discretionary power over non-specific matters". So obviously they have legitimacy under the governing document. It is left very vague on purpose so they could have more room to operate.

    Second, I want to address the point of unaccountability. In the charter, they pretty much give a nod to unaccountability "non-specific discretionary power". I think being rogue is a thing. In the name of national security plausible deniability can be a leader's best asset. It allows them not to get their hands dirty but is assured that there is someone doing the dirty work needed to protect the nation's interests. There's probably a chunk of StarFleet Command that knows about 31 but looks the other way due to the fact they understand this. Section 31 also probably has a few members within StarFleet Command.

    Third I'll list the positive actions they have undertaken:

    In the Enterprise series: Section 31 gives Malcom critical intelligence for the Enterprise to prevent Terra Prime from stopping the formation of United Coalition of Planets. This org would go on to form the Federation.

    In DS9: They infect the founders with a virus that will result in death. In any war, decapitating the leadership does significant damage to the organization (see Al-qaeda after the US took out its core leadership...it is dispersed, weak, and unable to project power...and this organization was supposed to be organized in a way where taking out the leadership didn't matter). This is especially true if that leadership is irreplaceable like the founders were. There's some valid argument to the fact that once they were dead, the whole Dominion would collapse since the Vorta and Jem'Hadar had lost their gods and haven't shown the ability to work together without the leadership of the Founders. Regardless, killing the founders would deal a significant blow to the dominion. Yes, it was sad that Oto had to be the carrier, but that's war.

    In DS9: They get Koval, the head of the Romulan Tal'Shiar to work for them and get him on the Continuing Committee (basically the board of directors for the Empire). Though it isn't overtly stated, I think this pays off when the Romulanns are dragged into the war. Garek's source is unknown but it isn't a leap to suggest he had sources within the Tal Shiar telling him Vreenak's itinerary. Furthermore, its not a leap also to suggest that with Koval's cooperation the "investigation" into the bombing of Vreenak's ship was a mere formality. It was always going to be laid on The Domionion.

    In the books: they aid in bringing to surface the treasonous actions of the Federation President (could have started a war with the Klingons) and permanently dispose of him and his allies.

    The one supposed mistake of section 31:
    I haven't read Cloak yet but in it they were looking to create a stable Omega molecule when things blew up. I think trying to harness the power of Omega was a good thing. I liken it to the experiements with the atomic bomb. It gave us a source of energy that is much cleaner than coal, and gave us the ultimate weapon that ended the war. Harnassing Omega for energy and as a weapon was a worthwhile endeavor if this is what they were trying to do.

    So given all this its obvious to me that Section 31 is a good thing for the Federation. A lot of intellegence agencies' symbol is appropriately the shield (including the CIA). People should remember that ultimately they are there to protect the nation and not give them crap when they sometimes do the dirty but needed work to protect us.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2013
  2. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2001
    Location:
    Per Ardua
    Re: Section 31 is a positive for the Federation (spoilers from TV & bo

    A good thing? Debatable.

    A necessary thing? Likely. Unfortunately.
     
  3. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2012
    Location:
    Shangri-La
    Re: Section 31 is a positive for the Federation (spoilers from TV & bo

    The difference between Section 31 and the CIA, is the CIA is ultimately answerable to the government of the US. Section 31 is not answerable in any way to Starfleet or the Federation government. That's the morality of it in a nutshell, lack of accountability.
     
  4. nightwind1

    nightwind1 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2010
    Location:
    Des Moines, IA
    Re: Section 31 is a positive for the Federation (spoilers from TV & bo

    IMNSHO, Section 31 was probably one of the most idiotic concepts to ever be created for Trek.
     
  5. randomfan86

    randomfan86 Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2013
    Re: Section 31 is a positive for the Federation (spoilers from TV & bo

    This can be a positive. It allows the organization to do things that the Federation, with its high ideals would not sanction...while officially being independent of the Federation itself. This includes the virus, summary execution of the treasonous President, as well as getting Koval to there side (violates prime directive of noninterference).

    The unaccountability and independence is a clever backdoor in the Federation Charter.
     
  6. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2012
    Location:
    Shangri-La
    Re: Section 31 is a positive for the Federation (spoilers from TV & bo

    Sorry, that's a copout. Either you have the high ideals and accept the consequences of them or you don't and you're willing to get your hands dirty. Creating Section 31 to do your dirty work like genocide and executing elected officials while claiming morality and high ideals is hypocritical.
     
  7. randomfan86

    randomfan86 Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2013
    Re: Section 31 is a positive for the Federation (spoilers from TV & bo

    In the Trekverse, both the Obsedion Order and the Tal Shiar were shown to be de facto rogue organizations without accountability as well. The CIA for a period of time in the last century had a lot of rogue activities as well. The CIA was never held to account for those activities. Within the CIA itself, there is a culture of nonaccountability (its the opposite...one of the guys who destroyed the torture tapes is getting promoted and a whistleblower on torture is going to jail). The Federation just doesn't bother with the pretense, so in a way, they are less hypocritical. Don't hate on them.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2013
  8. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2012
    Location:
    Shangri-La
    Re: Section 31 is a positive for the Federation (spoilers from TV & bo

    There's a huge moral difference between your intelligence branch performing a rogue operation without your knowledge or consent and sanctioning them to do whatever the hell they want as you turn a blind eye.
     
  9. randomfan86

    randomfan86 Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2013
    Re: Section 31 is a positive for the Federation (spoilers from TV & bo

    If you never hold them to account afterwards and they keep doing them (and even reward the breakdown of accountability), then there's no functional difference. The only difference is pretense.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2013
  10. randomfan86

    randomfan86 Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2013
    Re: Section 31 is a positive for the Federation (spoilers from TV & bo

    True.
     
  11. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2007
    Location:
    in a figment of a mediocre mind's imagination
    Re: Section 31 is a positive for the Federation (spoilers from TV & bo



    agreed


    a fundamentally silly concept(they're super-secret, so secret that they're off the books and no one knows of their existence. Think of modern technology NOW-how would an organization like that carry out its work undetected?), and moreover they're fundamentally unnecessary.

    There's nothing Section 31 did that Starfleet Intelligence couldn't have done.
     
  12. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2011
    Location:
    At star's end.
    Re: Section 31 is a positive for the Federation (spoilers from TV & bo

    Is S31 unaccountable?
    Apparently, S31 agents want to make sure you know how unaccountable they are at the very first contact they make.

    They doth protest too much.

    Really?
    Theory and practice are two entirely different things.

    That is correct.
     
  13. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2009
    Location:
    T'Girl
    Re: Section 31 is a positive for the Federation (spoilers from TV & bo

    Then why didn't Starfleet Intelligence do it first?


    :)
     
  14. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2006
    Location:
    Star Trekkin Across the universe.
    Re: Section 31 is a positive for the Federation (spoilers from TV & bo

    Wait he's using the books to defend Section 31, the same books that show how they are considerably incompetent and as such probably a major threat to the federation due to their bungling almost screwing them over?
     
  15. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2006
    Location:
    Star Trekkin Across the universe.
    Re: Section 31 is a positive for the Federation (spoilers from TV & bo

    becuase a lot of what they did was idiotic and/or an extreme over reaction.
     
  16. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2001
    Location:
    Ferguson, MO, USA
    Re: Section 31 is a positive for the Federation (spoilers from TV & bo

    Because writers didn't think of it or thought it would be "kewler" to have an above-the-law agency running amuck within the Federation.
     
  17. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2009
    Location:
    T'Girl
    Re: Section 31 is a positive for the Federation (spoilers from TV & bo

    Yet it was S31's actions (and not those of Starfleet Intelligence) that ended the Dominion War sooner than solely military action would have. There by saving lives on the Federation side.

    Which is the only side S31 concerns themselves with.

    :)
     
  18. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 19, 2001
    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    Re: Section 31 is a positive for the Federation (spoilers from TV & bo

    I'm kind of at a loss as do how Section 31 won the war, it was the cure that they were unwilling to give that in the end won the war. And there was no accountability for Section 31's attempted use of genocide to end the war, If anything in creating Section 31 it gave the writers an out in allowing genocide to bve used and not have it blamed on the Federation.
     
  19. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2007
    Location:
    in a figment of a mediocre mind's imagination
    Re: Section 31 is a positive for the Federation (spoilers from TV & bo


    yup, it's the second one. It's a "rule of drama" outside-universe explanation, not a logical one. The writers wanted to create new plotlines with this organization, THAT's the real reason they didn't just have Starfleet Intelligence do it.

    Then they could have their cake and eat it too-show something related to the Federation that was dark and amoral, but NOT take the risk of having it actually be anything officially part of them.
     
  20. indolover

    indolover Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2010
    Re: Section 31 is a positive for the Federation (spoilers from TV & bo

    The Obsidian Order and the Tal Shiar were official arms of the Cardassian and Romulan states. They were openly expected to investigate and conduct overt operations. Your comparison is flawed.

    That said, Section 31 is an interesting idea, however it undermines the Roddenberry vision. People can say it's unrealistic, however that misses the point since no artistic work has to be wholly realistic.